Lake Vostok life to be studied

Jan 15, 2007

U.S. researchers say they will analyze microorganisms from a vast Antarctic lake to determine how life adapts to extremely harsh environments.

University of California-Riverside Assistant Professor of Environmental Sciences Brian Lanoil is leading the project that will investigate life found in Lake Vostok, the world's seventh largest lake -- a Great Lakes-size body of fresh water trapped under a 2 1/2-mile-thick polar ice sheet.

The goal is to reconstruct the genomes of the microorganisms that live in the lake to determine how they have been able to withstand bitter cold, total darkness, low nutrients and high oxygen levels during evolutionary and geologically significant lengths of time.

The lake is estimated to have been buried under ice for at least 15 million years and is thought to have been isolated from the external environment during the last 1.5 million years.

Lanoil will work with Craig Cary at the University of Delaware and Philip Hugenholtz at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. They will compare their results with a similar study conducted by Sergei Bulat at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: How an ancient vertebrate uses familiar tools to build a strange-looking head

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Under the bright lights of an aging sun

Jul 04, 2014

Life as we know it on Earth is linked to our star, the Sun, which provides our planet with just the right amount of heat and energy for liquid water to be stable in our lakes, rivers and oceans. However, ...

Cassini celebrates 10 years exploring Saturn

Jun 26, 2014

It has been a decade since a robotic traveler from Earth first soared over rings of ice and fired its engine to fall forever into the embrace of Saturn. On June 30, the Cassini mission will celebrate 10 years ...

Curiosity travels through ancient glaciers on Mars

Jun 25, 2014

3,500 million years ago the Martian crater Gale, through which the NASA rover Curiosity is currently traversing, was covered with glaciers, mainly over its central mound. Very cold liquid water also flowed ...

Rover under-ice prototype may lead to Europa search

Jun 25, 2014

(Phys.org) —Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have been working on a device that may one day explore the underside of ice on Europa, Jupiter's moon. NASA completed an early prototype ...

Recommended for you

Final pieces to the circadian clock puzzle found

7 hours ago

Researchers at the UNC School of Medicine have discovered how two genes – Period and Cryptochrome – keep the circadian clocks in all human cells in time and in proper rhythm with the 24-hour day, as well ...

Measuring modified protein structures

11 hours ago

Swiss researchers have developed a new approach to measure proteins with structures that change. This could enable new diagnostic tools for the early recognition of neurodegenerative diseases to be developed.

New insights in survival strategies of bacteria

11 hours ago

Bacteria are particularly ingenious when it comes to survival strategies. They often create a biofilm to protect themselves from a hostile environment, for example during treatment with antibiotics. A biofilm is a bacterial ...

Bangladesh meet begins to save endangered tigers

12 hours ago

Some 140 tiger experts and government officials from 20 countries met in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on Sunday to review progress towards an ambitious goal of doubling their number in the wild by 2022.

Study solves the bluetongue disease 'overwintering' mystery

Sep 12, 2014

The bluetongue virus, which causes a serious disease that costs the cattle and sheep industries in the United States an estimated $125 million annually, manages to survive the winter by reproducing in the insect that transmits ...

User comments : 0